Weekly Charter News Roundup: Jan. 25 – Feb. 10

Georgia’s ranking for state charter laws has improved. According to the National Alliance of Charter Schools’ 2016 ranking of state charter laws, Georgia moved up five spots from 23 to 18 to because state lawmakers approved regulations to strengthen authorizer accountability, charter school autonomy and the processes for monitoring charter schools.

  • Georgia added 11 new charter schools this year. In addition, charter schools throughout the state enrolled an additional 7,000 students.
  • The first state chartered school in Fayette County will open its doors for the 2016-2017 school year. Liberty Tech will be housed in the former Brooks Elementary School.

  • Parents at Peachtree Charter Middle School have voted to renew the school’s charter.

  • Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent, Meria Carstarphen, has laid out more detailed plans for turning around a number of the city’s struggling schools. The plans include closing one school, merging another four and hiring charter school groups to manage five others.

  • Members of a panel that spoke during the 2016 Georgia Charter Schools Conference say, if approved by state lawmakers next year, the recent recommendations from the Education Reform Commission would benefit charter and traditional schools in the state. 

  • The Heartland Institute says recommendations made by the Education Reform Commission could lead to more equitable funding for charter schools if approved by state lawmakers next year.

  • Entertainer and actor Ludacris spoke during a rally held at the Georgia Capitol during National School Choice Week.

  • Benita Dodd with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation wrote an opinion piece for the Columbia County News-Times during National School Choice Week. She says Georgia’s education system has seen improvements in recent years due to school choice, but there’s still room for improvement.

  • The governing board for Elite Scholars Academy, one of the best performing schools in Clayton County, has announced it will not seek a charter renewal. Clayton County officials plan to operate Elite Scholars Academy as a traditional school.

  • The Alliance Academy for Innovation of Cumming-Forsyth County Inc. has switched from a charter school to a traditional school. The school system made the change after becoming an IE2 district.

  • The Washington D.C. based Brookings Institution gave the DeKalb County School System a D for educational choice and competition in its annual Education Choice and Competition index.

  • The governing board for Macon Charter Academy has approved a contract with Prestige Charter School Solutions.

Weekly Charter News Roundup: September 24 – October 1, 2015

In positive charter news this week, KIPP STRIVE Academy in Atlanta has been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The school is one of only nine in Georgia to receive the honor.

  • Utopian Academy for the Arts recently sent the city of Riverdale a cease and desist letter. According to the school, city officials threatened to shut down the school’s cafeteria because it was operating without a city business license. School officials say if “bullying” by the city of Riverdale continues, Utopian will sue the city for intentionally interfering with school operations.

  • The Atlanta Public School District has been approved as a charter system. The new status will start during the 2016-2017 school year.
  • In the meantime, the DeKalb County Board of Education plans to hold hearings on whether to submit an application to the Georgia Department of Education to formally seek charter system status. Earlier this year, the school district sent the state a letter of intent to become a charter system.

  • The meeting on the district’s charter system status comes just after the DeKalb County Board of Education passed a new charter policy. The Georgia Charter Schools Association has raised concerns about the policy in an open letter to DeKalb’s Board of Education, DeKalb School Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green and Board of Education Chairman Dr. Melvin Johnson.

  • An education reform commission established by Gov. Nathan Deal is looking at ways to change Georgia’s school funding formula. The discussions have included how to fund charter school facilities and whether property owned or leased for a charter school should be exempt from taxes.

  • Georgia did not receive a federal planning, program design and implementation grant. That means new charter schools interested in the grant must apply directly to the U.S. Department of Education. The grant helps charter school developers plan, design and complete the initial implementation of their schools.

  • A new national article by The Atlantic says data suggests charter schools are more popular in cities than in suburbs.

  • The University of Georgia says its partnership with Foothills Education Charter High School has been beneficial to at-risk teens. The school has several locations, including one in Athens, Georgia.

  • The Kindezi Schools recently opened a new charter school in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward.